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Genius or Genius?

Ernst Fuchs was foisted on the world in 1812 in an unmarked hamlet near Grossinglockner Peak known only to wary travelers as “the infamous home of the Alpine Tuna Melt.” At first, he struggled in drooling obscurity to make himself understood until pre-kindergarten finally provided the stage on which his idea-filled strudelkopf could come to a point from which there was no escaping, even on skis. Declaring finger-painting dead, tiny but wiry Ernst heralded the new art of Really Fantastic Finger-Painting and soon found his work displayed in some of the most prominent and prestigious hallways of the nursery school, on what Ernst chose to call "Locker Galleries." Now, such success would invite a normal man to early retirement, but Ernst always had his thinking cap screwed on too tight and would eventually teeter towards new bridges to paint then burn. 

After years of accruing many honorary and/or imaginary degrees, Ernst cast about for more art forms to revolutionize. While humbly aspiring only to modest success, he sadly found at best immodest failure as he launched the confounding art movements (see PAINTINGS) of Impressionistic Imaginarynism (1870), Realistic Symbioticism (1893), Dotty Realism (1902), Fanciful Fauvism (1906), Unlikely Suppresionism (1910), Fallacious Cubism (1911), Befuddled Futurealism (1914), Incredible Pedestrianism (1925), Medieval Revivalism (1934), and his last noble blunder Innate Beside-The-Pointilism (1936). Sadly, a genius goes unappreciated in his homeland and Ernst, being a man of the world, was unappreciated everywhere.

But all that changed the inexplicable night of May 7, 1945. After an evening of opera and drinking contests, Ernst had retired to a fitful sleep of mad visions, per usual. At two a.m., he was awakened by a spectral visitor. It was the angel Moroni, glowing in seraphic robes which rippled like the soft underbelly of clouds, dripping with spirituality as if he bought it bottled, and bearing miraculous gold plates delicately etched with ever-changing hieroglyphs. And beneath his robe, two magic translating rocks he called Urim and Thummim which swelled with the promise of perpetual life. Ernst impatiently explained that he wasn’t paid to care and requested the feathered intruder take flight so that he could return to his needed rest. “But the golden plates,” beseeched Moroni, “you just don’t see workmanship like this anymore.” Ernst would have none of it and fell fast asleep again while Moroni proceeded to the next household, that of soon-to-be corporate visionary Ray Kroc. And thus epiphany flits and flutters.

Then at around 4 a.m. Ernst was awakened by a second visitor, the future ghost of Salvador Dali’s first American business agent, clad in a three-piece suit as gracefully balanced as a radial keratotomy scalpel, with wingtip shoes to make the nattiest condor jealous, and a bow tie that must have been knotted by the very hand of Hermes. The harps of heaven were plucked as the ghost spoke and filled Ernst’s bleary head with wild stories about a brotherhood of man where everyone recognized good art when they saw it, and about his very own exhibitions for which he would receive 75% of net sales minus gallery commissions, and about retailers who would grant him a generous discount on art supplies if they could use his name in their advertising. “I’m sold,” declared Ernst, “where do I sign?” The ghost tried to explain that there was nothing to sign, that Ernst perhaps had him confused with Mephistopheles, but Ernst persisted and by morning the new partners had hammered out a detailed legal contract, and Fuchs had signed his name to a Wal-Mart rectal thermometer. Thus began the wondrous partnership that quickly propelled the artist to fame and fortune and ended three years later when Fuchs sued the ghost claiming unpaid residuals, so commencing a decade of debilitating court battles which financially ruined the ghost and drove it to a second suicide. He still most fondly recalls the first.

Despite this unpleasantness, wünderboy’s star was just beginning its insane and dull ascent. Unbeknownst to the surrealists, the surrealist movement had ended, and fortunately for life on this planet Ernst stepped forth to fill the void with his void-filling talent, which he quickly and rapidly voided into our empty hearts by founding the school of the last and the greatest art, Flabtastic Ruralism. How to describe this new art’s ulterior universe? Had Max Ernst been a tin plate of blue clams running for U.S. Senator, that would be Fuchs and his Flabtastic Realism.

Painstakingly, he recruited acolytes through colorful ads strategically placed on the back covers of comic books. In the classroom, Ernst would paint mystical figures surrounded by kabalistic symbols on the face of bricks then smash the bricks to faerie dust on his students’ heads. Needless to say, his art philosophy made a concussion-grade impact on his followers, and those who still retained some motor functions would wobble to the four corners of the world to diffuse his haze of ideas, leaking his ideations onto various saloon floor much like a sick dog urinating on a dusty street.

Regardless of the uncanny adoration he now sopped up like a mosquito in blood, Ernst lived in fear that someday the clods would be kicked over Flabtastic Realism as it had been over his prior achievements. Applying his stupendous brain to the problem, he found a solution in the rediscovery of the completely lost, obliterated-from-history, annihilated-from-human memory, art science called the Mische Technique. In this process, a mixture of eggs and children’s screams is added to paint so that when it dries it becomes impervious to the ravages of time, knife attacks, small arms fire, immolation, and all the other traditional menaces to Fuchs’ art. Of course, the most difficult part of the process was the laying of the eggs, and Ernst’s ability to yield 8-10 a day earned him the nickname “the prodigious zygote” among his art-addled following.


design & maintenance: Resilient Plague 
© 2002 The Wiley Whizzer Art & Tea Biscuit Society

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